Featured Post, or Blast from the Past

Ah Hear Ya, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah

With apologies to The Beatles, I have noticed a trend lately among (I am presuming to be) fairly educated and sophisticated people on the ra...

15 November 2017

I Haven't the Foggiest

Can anyone give me a good reason why a driver would not turn on his lights while driving in foggy, misty conditions? Or, in foggy AND SNOW? Or, in RAIN?  Even after someone like me has blink, blink, blinked the brights of my headlights to make the driver ahead of me or in the opposite, oncoming traffic aware of the problem?  Can these people actually see the road? And, if they can, what about consideration for the other drivers on the road? Is this a ha! ha! I can see you, but you can't see me! power play?

And, parking lights are not good enough. They're tiny.  And, why wouldn't you just go one click further and turn on the full headlights (not to mention the taillights)? Let me think of a probable reason. Is the driver trying to save wear & tear on the car's battery? Does the driver usually only use the parking light setting even in full darkness, because he can see in the dark?

Nowadays, most newer cars have running lights, which are on automatically whenever the car is on. There is a sensor which tells the mechanism when it is really dark outside, so that instead of running lights, the car will turn on real headlights. Obviously, for most cars, this sensor needs real darkness to signal to the mechanism to switch to headlights. This is not good enough. Firstly, having just running lights on does not replace full headlights   Secondly, having running lights on does not automatically mean that taillights are on.  Is the driver just lazy and letting the automatic running lights do all the work, instead of taking two moments to turn on and then, turn off the real lights? Is this another ha! ha! I can see you, but you can't see me! moment?

Just a whine to automakers, what's this about auto running lights, anyway? They are supposed to increase road safety? For whom? And why only in the front? Don't we want to prevent vehicles from ramming us (or, see below, crashing when avoiding a crash) from behind?

I guess I am only talking about the familiar (and the majority), which are passenger cars, but trucks, too, are a problem -- a bigger problem, pun intended. A few years ago, I totalled the car I was driving on the tollway, because I suddenly saw the semi-tractor's trailer before me and braked while swerving to the left (we were both in the right lane and I didn't feel like falling past the narrow shoulder into a snowy ditch). I ended up sliding across the left lane, doing a 180 and taking out the median barrier with the whole front bumper and passenger-side wheel well of my car while the truck roared merrily on its way, oblivious.  Larry said I was driving too fast for road conditions and not using the anti-lock brakes properly. Be that as it may, I was more bothered by the fact that I did not see the truck's taillights (or whatever they're called). Later, under the same, or possibly worse, visual conditions on the same road, I noticed that I could see trucks' taillights, so it must have been that particular truck's problem.  Today, in the rain, there was a waste disposal truck behind me on I-88 with no headlights on (which also means no taillights on). Again, it's a ha! ha! I can see you, but [who cares if] you can't see me!

Of course, my lights were on. I make sure by manually bypassing the auto on/off to keep the headlights on even as the day gets brighter, a feature of this car which the salesman had touted as a good way to turn off unwanted headlights while driving in the Christmas-lights-laden neighborhoods). And, if they aren't, I want to know!! I certainly hope I'll notice your blink, blink, blinking of your brights and respond accordingly, because maybe sometimes, I haven't the foggiest idea I'm not having a ha! ha! I can see you, but you can't see me! moment, too.


28 September 2017

All the News That's Fit to Fake, Or, Conservative Are More Profitable

Two influential people were reported by NPR dead today, Hugh Hefner and Paul Horner.  Hugh and who? I confess that I had not been following the fake news leads as closely, either. Many of them came from Paul Horner and his website "National Report," who had creatively alleged that protesters against Donald Trump were paid and even put up a fake Craigslist ad to back his story up. His object was two-fold, to "educate" people and to make about $10,000/mo on Google ads on the website. Such business acumen has unintended consequences. He regretted being instrumental in getting Trump elected.
"I hate Trump," he said. But he targeted conservatives with his stories because he found it was more profitable....
"I mean that's how this always works: Someone posts something I write, then they find out it's false, then they look like idiots," he told the Post. "But Trump supporters — they just keep running with it! They never fact-check anything! Now he's in the White House. Looking back, instead of hurting the campaign, I think I helped it."  

We have long known that being liberal is a losing proposition.  It costs money to have a social net and requires sacrifice to be "fair" and "equitable." And, most social liberals like me don't have time to troll strangers' websites and pass along news -- fake or otherwise or become one of the thousands which help make something go viral, probably because we don't have time to fact-check. Liberals are either too shrill or too shy and don't have the social skills or temperament to host talk shows meant to present only one side or debates in which the inevitable conservative view trumps (pun intended?). Even those really shrill ultra-conservative radio talk shows were hosted by people who may not have had such extreme views but knew on which side their bread was buttered and also pragmatically know (unlike the staunch liberals with honorable values) that it doesn't matter whether you eat the slice right-side up or not, you still get both the bread and the butter. Staunch liberals with honorable values would rather not eat the bread, even if they can't see the butter on the other side of it.

R.I.P. Paul Horner, but I doubt it'll be the end of fake news.